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Does Life Make Us Gamblers?

May 19, 2008
Just because I play the penny slot machines when I go to Las Vegas doesn't mean I'm not a gambler. However, my mistakenly betting over thirteen dollars on my first bet might mean I'm gambling challenged. Nevertheless, life goes on; and life is one gamble after another.

Life's gambles start small - like taking your first step, deciding what to ask Santa for and whether to study for a possible, pop quiz. Then the risks get bigger - like marriage. The U.S. ranks seventh in percentage of marriages that end in divorce. Australia, Estonia, Luxemburg, Finland and Belarus have higher percentages than we do. Sweden has the highest. India, on the other hand - the one with a wedding ring still on it - has the lowest percentage of marriages that end in divorce. Obviously, when it comes to wedding vows, Indians aren't Indian givers.

Buying a house is another expensive risk; but because of the slowdown in the housing market, homeowners are coming up with innovative ways to sell their homes. One man is offering club membership and golf lessons to the buyer of his golf course house. A man whose house is on forty acres will give the buyer his tractor and his pickup truck. A woman in Colorado is offering her house as the prize in an essay contest, for which there is a $100 entrance fee. Then there's the couple in Pennsylvania. They promised that their buyer would get the purchase price of their home back after the sellers' deaths. The couple sold their house, but they didn't sell the idea of bequeathing the buyer their retirement house in Arizona in return for his taking care of them in their old age. That idea would have given new meaning to the word housework.

Children, of course, are a lifelong gamble. You love them, care for them and teach them for eighteen years. Then they're ready to leave the nest and you're ready to redecorate it - unless you're a baby boomer. Baby boomers had seventy-one million children and they're boomeranging back home. In 2005 twenty-two million adult children were living in their parents' homes, which mean fourteen percent of families included at least one adult child. As far as gambling goes, I think that would qualify as having doubled-down on your bet. I think it could also change the wording of the marriage vows to for bettor or for worse.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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